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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD 4 APRIL 2023 VOL 49 NO 34
PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE
Tuesday, 4th April 2023
The National Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o’clock p.m.
(THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. My point of national interest pertains to the welfare of the Members of Parliament. We are very few here as a result of accommodation challenges and this is partly why my other colleagues lost because of lack of resources. This is a serious issue because they cannot participate here.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. T. Mliswa, you are not connected.
HON. T. MLISWA: Thank you Madam Speaker. Madam Speaker this institution is important in that it must never lack resources at any given time because it is responsible for the other two arms of the State, the Judiciary and the Executive. If it not well taken care of, how then does a country move forward when we only have a few people here to debate on national issues? They cannot be accommodated in hotels, they are sleeping in cars, they are impoverished, they are using their own monies because allowances come late. Their salaries are not even worth it, they are forced to go to campaign for elections without even being paid allowances. It is quite sad that no action is taken and this institution is not taking it seriously.
I would blame the Executive for being responsible for the failure of the Members of Parliament. Even those that lost, I think it was part of the machinations of the Executive to make sure that they do not resource this Parliament so that some of the people do not come back. It will be amiss for me not to also discuss and contribute on the Members of Parliament who lost in the elections. Some worked hard, some did what they could and some promised things that this House was supposed to provide. We went and told people that there will be Information Centres but the centres are not there.
We went and told people - visiting their constituencies, promising certain constituency allowance but they did not get it. With just those two things that I have mentioned, people will not want to entertain you and call you a liar, how can they vote you back into office? It is the responsibility of the Executive and I blame the Executive for deliberately letting these Members of Parliament down. The welfare of their vehicles, $30 000 is supposed to be given to these Members of Parliament. I prayed to God that they must go for elections with that 30 000 and with a brand-new car so that they would be able to campaign. They only had one car, yet we were promised a car. Why did that car not come? The Executive is celebrating and smiling at the demise of Members of Parliament because they only have one vehicle.
Where is the $30 000 that was budgeted for, which is in the Blue Book, which was supposed to be given to these Members of Parliament to have their vehicles? It is not a favour; it is something which has got to be done. If figures in the Blue Book are not adhered to, who is to blame? So once again, they were totally under resourced in whatever they did.
Finally, the issue of welfare is an issue of serious case as long as this institution is not respected and enough money is not given. Hon. Ministers were given $500 000 for houses, Deputy Ministers $350 000, Senior Directors in the CIO $350 000. We do oversight and pass their budget here and when $40 000 was being given to Members of Parliament, there was no noise. I have never seen where when a father is given more meat, the children complain. The father is given more meat so that he has energy to go and get more for his children. We are the mothers and fathers of this nation, but we are not well resourced. So you will see a continuation of Members of Parliament who are coming in for one term only. By the way, those who are coming in, I wish you all the best, you are going to serve one term as well because you know there is no capacity to serve for a second term.
We will be seeing a situation where Members of Parliament will change after every five years because this House is not well resourced. Members of Parliament are supposed to serve at lest two terms. They will come here, say nothing for 5 years and leave here after the 5 years after saying nothing. What do we do with the resource which was invested in the first five years? It has gone to waste - others were gaining confidence, some were not, so now you are bringing in people who have no confidence. It is not easy Hon. Speaker. I will give an example of Hon. Chinotimba; he brought pertinent issues to this Parliament. A good example is the fuel issue. He asked the Minister why Zimbabwe fuel is so expensive yet Zambia collects fuel from Zimbabwe and yet it is cheaper in Zambia. I do not see legislators coming in who have the common sense and the bravado to stand up and speak.
Hon. Nduna here: what he contributed at times 90% he was right, 10% I might not agree with but he stood to represent that national interest of this country. It is a sad moment for me, not because I feel that I must protect anyone, but for the country to move forward, cannot have a situation where we have Members of Parliament just serving one term. It does not make sense because it is a waste of resource. All the capacity building which was done, where is it gone, it has gone to waste and now they are leaving this place as mere paupers, owing money, no house, no nothing and the blame is on them.
This nation must be made aware and understand the role of a Member of Parliament. Our people believe that Members of Parliament have got money, they must build roads, build clinics and hospitals. That is not the role of the Member of Parliament. That is why there are rural district councils and urban councils whose job is to do that. None of these people are councillors. We are blamed for lack of development yet we are not custodians for development. Our job involves three things - to legislate, represent and do oversight. Have we not done that? This Parliament has done well by exposing quite a lot of what has happened in terms of oversight but God is God and the devil is there. They are punished for what they have not done – varikurohwa neshamhu isiri yavo. Pakanzi a Member of Parliament basa rake nderekuvaka road or chipatara ndepapi, hapana. If you are willing to help and then you help and tomorrow you are told to leave. In my constituency, I said the one who is supposed to construct a road must do so first then I will also vote that person. If he just says that verbally without any action, I too am able to say that.
We need to really take this institution seriously and the resource of the institution is critically. Finally, Madam Speaker, the PVO Bill was done in terms of NGOs which are involved in elections. This FAZ, we need a Ministerial Statement on it - is it an association or NGO? Is Heritage an association or NGO? We need a report for us to know - if it is an NGO, why is it getting involved in the politics of ZANU PF? ZANU PF has got a Political Commissar whose job is to mobilise for the party. It has every other department there, but we see them going there. We would like an explanation to understand, so what was the point of moving a law to dismiss other NGOs so that FAZ and Heritage could come and participate? We also want to know where FAZ is getting their funding from.
They are being paid 700 US dollars per month yet the officers in the CIO are paid 200US and then 320 RTGS which is not 700; could they not use the system. The State Security is responsible for the protection of this country for the Members of Parliament and for the President. You do not need to set up another PVO, you do not need to set up another CIO. Where the President is involved, it is national security but I must say the national security of this country has become itself a national threat to the people of this….
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: You time is up Hon. T. Mliswa. -
HON. T. MLISWA: Of this country, I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS Hear, hear.] –
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon T. Mliswa you raised a very valid issue about Members of Parliament’s welfare and I advise you that it is being looked into by Parliament administration. About FAZ and Heritage, that one I cannot answer, we cannot discuss issues of ZANU PF party here in Parliament. I think that one you can take it to their caucus.
*HON. T. MLISWA: I thank you for your response pertaining to the welfare. Even on the issue of stands, they are now out of their jobs, they have nothing. If you see them coming, they are waiting for their remuneration so that they leave. You are also our mother. If you were promised that you are going to get something and you are now jobless, notwithstanding the issue that we must go back and campaign for our party. They do not have stands and vehicles; those are the only things that they are looking forward to as their pension, so when can they expect to get these things. This has been a pending issue for quite a long time. Some are now deceased and their families are suffering. I was appealing to you as Hon. Speaker that we are living in abject poverty as your children. That 40 000 that you gave us, if we manage to buy a stand, then now we are looking forward to build on that stand because we have absolutely nothing at the moment. If these allowances were going to be speeded up, that would help the Hon. Members very much.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: We will encourage them to speed up the process as per your point of national interest. We also want that issue to be speeded up.
HON. NDUNA: Good afternoon Madam Speaker, my point of national interest – I just have an encouragement, if it pleases you, to request the Hon. Minister of Local Government to put timelines on the issue that he has brought to this House in terms of title deeds to those that are in houses of council and home ownership schemes. He has come here and he has promised that all those people would get title deeds. If there were timelines, it would definitely be good for everyone.
My main point of national interest borders around the issue of retrospectivity in terms of insurance application and the establishment of accident victims’ stabilization centres. It is something that we have spoken about ad-finitum for a very long time. Accident victims’ stabilization centres as a proposal were to be established at all the tollgates which are 100kms apart and they can save lives in this way. Seventy percent of our people die because they will not have been attended to within the first hour after the accident which is called the golden hour. They will not have been stabilized during that hour. It is my hope and view that the Hon. Minister of Transport can actually force retrospectivity application of the insurance for those that would have been injured and for the bereaved. For a very long time there has not been any compensation. I would also want the Minister to give a timeframe for the establishment of the accident victim stabilization centres.
The Hon. Minister of Health and Child Care who is also the Vice President of this country, Retired General C.G.N. Chiwenga received 20 ambulances to station at these tollgates. If it pleases you Madam Speaker, may you ask the Hon. Minister of Transport on those two issues of applying in retrospect the issue of compensation using third party insurance, full cover insurance and passenger insurance for those that would have been involved in accidents as well as to immediately establish the accident victims stabilization centres. This cannot be a House only for rhetoric and waxing-lyrical. It should be a House where we get responses in terms of action. I pray that if it pleases you Madam Speaker, let your heart be on the right side when you deal with the issue of title deeds for those in council houses and the establishment of accident victims stabilization centres as well as for those that have already been involved in accidents, retrospectivity application of compensation using the insurance. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Nduna. Regarding the title deeds issue, the message will be conveyed to the responsible Minister of Local Government so that he will bring a ministerial statement as per your request. On the motor vehicle insurance and accident victims’ centres, I urge you to come up with a motion regarding that issue so that it will be debated in this House. I know you have been talking about that issue for a long time Hon. Nduna.
HON. MADZIMURE: Madam Speaker, my point of national interest regards the issue of teachers. Teachers are supposed to be united and look after every child. Therefore, teachers are expected to remain apolitical but we now have a situation where we have teachers for E.D. Where does it leave the other teachers if some teachers are said to be aligned to the President? Does it mean that we have some teachers who do not support the President? If we do not have such a situation, why are we throwing dividing the teachers? How are they going to treat children from different parents of different political persuasion? Can we continue doing that in a country where we think the President is our father and an umbrella who brings everybody together? This is not a semantic but a real situation. We have seen them dancing on the dance floor before the President. I would want those who pretend to be winners when they are not winners to know that the elections were rigged for them. How can Hon. Sacco win an election in Chimanimani? He cannot.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Madzimure, please address the Chair.
HON. MADZIMURE: Madam Speaker, I wanted you to protect me from Hon. Nguluvhe and Hon. Sacco. If you can protect me Madam Speaker Ma’am. I was talking in terms of principles. Our Education Act is very clear and even Government policy is very clear. A teacher is a teacher and can only belong to a teachers’ association. A teacher cannot belong to a political association. Therefore, I want a ministerial statement from the Minister of Primary and Secondary and even Higher Education on why they are allowing teachers to belong to a political association.
THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon Madzimure. Order, order Hon. Togarepi, order Hon. Members. Order please, may we have order in the House. Hon. Madzimure, my understanding is that these are teachers for economic development and not a political outfit. Even yourself Hon. Member, you are for economic development.
HON. MADZIMURE: On a point of order Madam Speaker. This House is not a joke. We swore waving a bible and we know there is no economic development association for teachers. There are teachers for Emmerson Dambudzo.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: So please may you bring the proof to this House so that we can talk about that issue. Without proof, we cannot talk about it.
HON. MADZIMURE: I will bring it.
THE HON DEPUTY SPEAKER: I thank you Hon Madzimure.
*HON. NYABANI: First and fore-most, I would like to thank the people of Rushinga for the confidence that they have shown in me by voting for me in the recently held primary elections so that I can continue to further their interests through my representative function. As their servant, I will continue to serve them diligently.
There are learners who have not paid their examination fees because there are no centres to write examinations. Learners are travelling for 10km to go to a nearby centre for examinations. We would want to ask the Minister why they are not registering existing schools as examination centres so that learners do not have to travel long distances. Again, there are no teachers in secondary schools. You will find that a learner is studying 10 subjects but the school has only two teachers. We are asking the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education to bring a ministerial statement to this House and explain where exactly the problem is because the President is always saying no-one and no place should be left behind.
*THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Nyabani. We have heard you but I am pleading with you to ask that question to the Minister tomorrow Wednesday on Question time so that we get a response as a House.
HON. MAPHOSA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I rise on a point of national interest. In this House, we have focused mostly on the girl child and I want to thank Hon. Members and even the Ministers because most of the issues have been addressed. However, we have forgotten the boy child. Whilst a good percentage has gone through drugs and we have always raised the issue here, we have been promised that things are being sorted out to ensure that we alleviate the issue of drug abuse and drug peddling.
Madam Speaker, we will not resolve the issue – I see we are arresting those that are selling in the streets but we are not going to the root cause of the drug issue. We are celebrating mbingas that we do not know where they get their money from. I think that is where most of the drugs peddling is based. However, Madam Speaker, my issue today is on boys’ high schools. We have seen a lot of abuse on the boy child in these schools where the boy child is being abused. There is sexual peddling and sexual abuse. My prayer to you Madam Speaker is that the Ministry, together with the Committee on Primary and Secondary Education must lodge an investigation on this issue.
Madam Speaker, I have seen a good percentage of boy child committing suicide. Some have mental challenges and others are dropping out of school, going on drugs. Previously, the boys’ high schools were best for our boy child because they were meant for them to focus on school without being disturbed by some other things. Now, they have become a haven for abuse of boys. That is my prayer Madam Speaker that the Ministry, together with the Committee investigate on this issue. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Maphosa. You have raised a valid point. I think you can raise a motion regarding that issue that boys have been left out. All the entities have been concentrating on girls issues leaving out the boys so that it can be debated in this House. I think we can also urge the Committee to go and carry out investigations so that all the matters can be debated and reach to a point where things will change for our boys in schools.
HON. MAPHOSA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker.
Hon. Markham having stood up on a point of national interest.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you Hon. Markham, time for points of national interest has expired.
HON. MARKHAM: On a point of order and clarification Madam Speaker. How long is the point of national interest supposed to be per individual? I understand it is supposed to be one or two minutes.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Yes.
HON. MARKHAM: Not one person debated under two minutes this afternoon. All the speakers were debating for three to five minutes. I thank you.
THE HON. DEPUTY SPEAKER: Thank you for noticing that Hon. Markham. I am sure they have heard it for themselves. Next time I will not allow them to speak more than the expected time. Thank you for that.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
HON. TOGAREPI: Thank you Madam Speaker. I move that Orders of the Day, Numbers 1 to 15 be stood over until Order of the Day, Number 16 has been disposed of.
HON. L. SIBANDA: I second.
Motion put and agreed to.
ABUSE OF DRUGS BY YOUTHS
HON. NYABANI: Madam Speaker, I move the motion standing in my name that: -
DISTURBED by the excessive and prevalent abuse of drugs by youths countrywide;
NOTING that the situation is exacerbated by the unemployment rate among youths who consequently end up spending most of their time idle and resorting to taking all sorts of drugs;
CONCERNED that such abuse of drugs has devastating consequences on our future generations and the nation as a whole;
NOW, THEREFORE, calls upon the government -
To put in place measures that will curb the abuse of drugs by youths through self-help projects and by so doing, keep the youths fully occupied all the time;
Set up rehabilitation centres and hospitals to assist youths who are addicted to drugs to the extent of treating such abuse as a way of life; and
Legislate for stiffer penalties for the importation of those substances that give rise to incidents of drug abuse in the country.
HON. NDUNA: I second.
*HON. NYABANI: Madam Speaker, I want to thank you for the opportunity that you have given me to present my motion. Noticing that our country has gone down because of the drugs, the youths have been destroyed. People have been hurt and it appears that there is a war situation in the country because of the drug abuse. We should look for ways and means to eradicate this scourge. We should see as Parliaments, how best we can resolve this problem so that our country can develop. This is another type of a war. Wars come in different forms, the youth or the young generation is what we are looking towards ensuring that our country is developed but because of these drugs such as crystal meth and others – our young generation is being destroyed. People are now drinking and selling drugs everywhere including schools and workplaces. Government should come up with ways to eradicate this drug scourge. Government should also arrest all those who are involved in all types of drugs. People are brewing kachasu willy-nilly.
I have a young brother who became mentally disturbed because of drugs. We tried to rehabilitate him at Sally Mugabe Hospital but to no avail. Government should come up with stern measures for these drug peddlers. The police should play their role. Drugs cause mental health problems and we should not have these. If these problems are not attended to, the affected people will end up committing serious offences like murder. Parents are being attacked by their children. Some relatives are now accusing each other of witchcraft because of abuse of drugs. Government should assist by ensuring that there are sufficient jobs that are created so that these youths have something to do.
The law enforcement agents should not be involved in the sell of these drugs. Drug abuse is now a national problem. Once we rid ourselves of drugs, we will be a better nation. There should be introduction of practical jobs like carpentry, building and so forth, so that our youths are always occupied and will not think of abusing drugs.
May be there is no drug abuse in Hon. Mliswa’s Constituency that is why he is not speaking about it. I thank you.
HON. T. MLISWA: Just on a point of order. I have gone to Bulawayo and all over. I thought you have copied from me and thank me for being the initiator. I have put up a rehabilitation centre which costs me US$20 000.00
THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon. Mliswa, why are you doing that?
HON. T. MLISWA: He said he has never heard me talk about this and I said I was the first to start the awareness in Norton and I put US$20 000 in rehabilitation. As an MP, I was going to say to him – what did you do with your US$40 000.00? Why do you not give half of it to a rehabilitation centre?
HON. NDUNA: I just want to add my voice to Hon. Nyabani’s motion on drugs and drug abuse. Away from the drugs that he speaks to and about; I just want to come closer home to drugs that have not been spoken about that can cause abuse to a human body; in particular, these drugs are prescription pain killers or drugs which somebody becomes addicted to and therefore become harmful to somebody’s body.
Next to the known drugs that we talk about – the cocaine, heroin, mutoriro or marijuana – the most dangerous drugs are the pain killers which are prescription drugs. It is my thinking that we alleviate the suffering of the masses, there is need to make sure we treat, not the symptoms, but the challenges that cause drug abuse. If somebody indulges in drug intoxication, inhalation, intake and such like which leads to drug abuse, it is because they have a challenge that they are trying to mask or hide behind this issue of drug abuse. I will give you an example – a father gets home; we call some of these people youths assuming they are not married or otherwise. When they go back home, they are fathers and they are supposed to take care of their family. When they get home and they have nothing to offer to their family, this is what leads to drug abuse.
I second Hon. Nyabani in terms of work provision or farm provision - something that God can work on because the Bible says he will bless the work of your hands; you reap what you sow and so forth. When you have your clenched fist like this; this is called potential. When you release like that, it is called kinetic energy. It is incumbent upon all people that are born of a woman not to remain with potential but to release their talents and make them kinetic energy because everybody is borne of a woman. Why do I say this? Because everybody has got five senses including Charles Bronson of Virgin Airlines; including those that invented United Arab Emirates Airlines and Qatar Airlines and such like. Everybody is born of a woman but if we continue in a path where we do not realise our potential, we will continue to lament ad infinitum and continue to cry without getting anything out of our livelihoods that can see us go away from drug abuse. I ask and I challenge all men and women to release their potential and find that they get something out of their talents that they were born with in order that they avert, avoid completely eradicate and annihilate the scourge of drug abuse because drugs are now being used as a comfort pill, as something that gives a relaxation tool to somebody who will be in those challenges.
The issue of drugs are now being used by our children to avoid the stress that they would have faced at school because they have not done very well in their examinations, because their father is abusive to their mother at home, because they have no accommodation and because they have no food. They would use drugs to try and forget the challenges that they are facing at home.
It is my thinking that if the housing backlog is addressed, especially from where I come from, at N23A that is in Pfupajena where there are three families of ten each, that live in a three roomed house, the scourge of drug abuse can fall away. The scourge of child marriages can fall away and the scourge of girl-child abuse can fall away. I have spoken of three issues that can be treated by just one issue of addressing the housing challenges.
What also can address the scourge of drug abuse is the proliferation of jobs. I say this because we are endowed with ubiquitous amounts of mineral wealth. The so-called artisanal miners should no longer be referred to as artisanal miners, but they can use their numbers as artisanal miners to engage in what is called crowd funding. In my constituency, there is about half a million artisanal miners and if they were 500 000 in number and each of them produced a dollar per day, that would be half a million per day. If they produced it for two days, that is a million dollars.
If they produced it for five days, that is about five or so million USD and that can buy an ERJ 145. It is a 55-seater aeroplane, wide bodied aeroplane but can seat 55 passengers. That can carry it to Johannesburg at USD345.00 per seat and can transform the lives of artisanal miners using what they have to get what they want and using their numbers to engage in crowd funding.
I stand here on this pedestal and platform and implore the masses of Zimbabwe to look outside the box and engage in crowd funding. I have already started it in Chegutu, the vendors and what you call the transport operators from outside. They are called the hwindis or the touts and there is a thousand worth of touts and vendors in my constituency.
They have embarked on banking a dollar per day which is USD1 000 per day and because they are going to engage in contribution of USD20 000 monthly, what it means is with 100 constituencies contributing USD2 million monthly, they just need two months in order to transform their lives completely – with USD2 million per month in the bank. All the businesses can come into the vendors and the touts in order to get cheap financing at a rate of 2% per month or per three months or per annum in terms of interest.
This can transform the lives of our vendors and our touts and our people that are not employed in formal employment. I implore the masses of Zimbabwe standing here to engage in crowd funding in order to definitely make sure that they address the issue of housing, agricultural inputs as well as tackle the issue of funding their businesses in order to completely annihilate the scourge and the proliferation of drug abuse.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I want to take this opportunity to thank the people of Chegutu West Constituency who asked and commissioned me to come here and represent them on the motion about drug abuse that has been brought up by Hon. Nyabani, in particular Cde. Lameck Nyamarango, Sarah Chikukwa, Marjory Ruzha, Patricia Nyamadzawo, Charles Makoni, Tawanda Chitashu and Tapfumaneyi Wunganayi. Thank you for giving me this opportunity
*HON. GOZHO: I would like to thank Hon. Nyabani and Hon. Nduna for moving this motion and I want to say that this drug issue is an issue which raises concern. Drugs are normally taken by young boys who do not have anything to do and they partake in drinking illicit beers and drugs. I believe that it is important that we promulgate laws which prohibit the peddling of drugs. There must be stiff laws pertaining to the use of drugs. Our young people are not working because there are no jobs and industries are not working. We need punitive laws which should assist in protecting the young people who are growing up.
In the same issue, I want to say that we hear people saying that there are some girls who are also taking drugs because we do not have punitive laws. As a nation, we need to come up with laws which are going to be prohibitive. We have a lot of young people who are not employed and who sit on bridges. As I mentioned, I want to blame the nation because of this situation that we do not have proper laws.
As parents, I therefore urge every parent to teach children about the disadvantages of drugs. It is painful to note that the children do not know the danger of drugs. Let us urge them to work hard to find something to do like partaking in productive work. We should assist them. The painful thing is that you find young people who are unemployed and some who cannot live with their families properly because of the drugs which they take. These drugs affect them for three days or so whilst they are under the influence of drugs. So let us urge them not to take drugs. I thank you.
*HON. PRISCILLA MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I rise to support the motion on drug and substance abuse which was raised by Hon. Nyabani and seconded by Hon. Nduna. This issue is a national disaster. We have even now realised that in rural areas, children are abusing drugs and substances. However, I would like to applaud the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) for trying to curb and stop this scourge. Recently in my constituency Mwenezi, there was a drug dealer who had caused havoc by selling drugs to children. People thought that he could not be brought to book but recently, ZRP managed to bring him to book. Therefore, I would like to encourage people to work together with the law enforcement agency so that those who sell drugs to our children are brought to book.
On the issue of school going children, some are lodging at growth points or townships. These students are vulnerable to drug abuse because they would have been given money by parents but they later use it for bad things because they will be living alone. Therefore, I urge parents to find better accommodation for children instead of letting them live alone. This will cause children to do whatever because they will have no-one to control them. I also urge Government to construct affordable boarding schools so that children do not lodge at townships and growth points. It is better to place them under someone’s guardianship.
Parents should also monitor their children when they go to school. They should know their children’s timetable so that they know what time they finish. Parents should also know their children’s friends so that they monitor the friendship. Even at churches, parents have to know those church friends because some drugs dealers are church goers. After completing a certain level of education, children should have something to do instead of loitering. In Mwenezi, there is plenty of agricultural land which is lying idle. There is a lot of water, I urge our Government to start irrigation schemes for young people so that as they get busy farming, they would not be tempted to go into drugs. This issue needs our attention as a nation. It is a thorn in the flesh for everyone who is a parent.
In institutions of higher learning, there is also need to monitor students. University authorities should monitor to see how those students are living, what occupies them at certain times. Lecturers should be closer to their students, checking their behaviour and try to help where necessary. Some students go into drugs because they would have failed in their examinations and in a way, the lecturers would take advantage of them, promising them to pass if they do what they want. They would give them money so that they will dance according to their tune. Students will end up going into drugs because of money.
As leaders, we should not be drivers of drug and substance abuse. We should not abuse young people by giving them drugs so that they do what we want. When they are under the influence of drugs, they can do anything without fear. We are also parents; we should be pained if we see other people’s children suffering due to effects of drug abuse; we should see them as our own children. I thank you.
(v)HON. JOSIAH SITHOLE: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I also want to add my voice to this very crucial motion raised by Hon. Nyabani. I would like to first of all applaud our security system, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), where we find most of the time the issue on drug abuse being put on centre stage. A lot of work has been reported in newspapers, television and wherever we are, we see the ZRP doing a lot of work.
However, I would like to suggest that we need to capacitate ZRP and those who would want to assist us in trying to apprehend people who are into drug dealing and abuse. We cannot do a wonderful job if our ZRP does not have vehicles or motorbikes so that they can quickly go and attend to areas where drugs are being abused. I also feel that it is not enough just to arrest. It is also good that we embark on intensive guidance of those people who will have been found on the wrong side of the law and even those who are not yet abusing drugs, we also need to give them some intensive guidance from ZRP and schools so that we reduce the propensity to go for drugs. I also want to say now that we are already deep in the sea due to this issue of drug abuse, we will also need to have notifications of those who have already been affected because some people will be brought to normalcy if we were going to get some medications for them. Since we are already witnessing that, we need some medications for such people.
I also feel that our Hon. President, His Excellency, Dr. E. D. Mnangagwa has been talking a lot about drug abuse. Just last week, he had audience with churches and appealed to churches to make sure that they assist in the fight against drugs. So we want to applaud the President for coming up with a stance to ensure that the issue of drugs is no longer an issue to be allowed to plague in our country. We would also feel that what he has done, even to some big people, that if they are seen manufacturing these drugs they are also given penalties. I think that is a good move by our President to be exemplary where there is disaster because drug abuse is now a serious catastrophe in our country.
Mr. Speaker, I feel we need to have some collective action. There should be no sector that does not talk about drug abuse. All sectors of life have to talk about drug abuse in the homes, schools, work places, recreational centres, churches and what-a-view, so that people really understand that we are in a very serious disaster in our country and we need to do away with it. It is like when COVID came into our country and the world over, our country actually participated very actively. It was among the most rated countries that were fighting against COVID-19. We need to have a similar stance, just like we did for COVID-19, to ensure that drug abuse in our country is going to a low end, and if possible eradicated completely. Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
HON. MAPHOSA: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker. I would want to thank Hon. Nyabani for raising such a pertinent motion seconded by Hon. Nduna. Mr. Speaker Sir, I have heard my colleagues debating and mostly hammering on what we can do to help those that would have abused drugs. It is good Hon. Speaker Sir to talk about what we can do to help these children. My debate will focus on the root cause of having so much drugs in our country. When we were growing up, we knew that there were things called drugs and there were just a few young people who were abusing drugs. What we are seeing is that there is too much inflow of drugs in this country that we do not know who would serve our children. It is like someone is deliberately wiping out a generation.
Mr. Speaker, the young generation is being wiped away. It is like there is a group, should I call it ‘mafia’ which is responsible for wiping away this certain generation of our youths. Where are they getting money to buy so much drugs? It means there is a feeding point somewhere and some inflows of drugs. Those who are bringing in drugs know that they have a market because these young ones are given money to get the drugs. On my point of privilege, I stated that we celebrate people that we call mbinga. Have we ever asked ourselves what they do in their day to day lives? We know of course that some of them are in the gold mafia, whatever, but where are these other mbingas getting their money from?
Mr. Speaker, we cannot celebrate someone who drive beautiful cars and having escort when they do not have any line of business. Most of these people do not have mines, factories or any legitimate businesses but they are called mbingas, they throw hundred dollars everywhere they go. That is where our problem is as a country. I would want to urge those that are in authority to say we cannot go on like this. As the Second Republic, there were a lot of promises and statements but at the same time we have seen serious drug trafficking and drug abuses. To me, it is something that those that are in authority should sit down and introspect. I thank the party that had primary elections because they disqualified someone who owns a factory that manufactures mutoriro. It was a good move and we want to see what then happens after that. It should be a message to everyone, that is, if we are serious in trying to eradicate this problem; we should take action. It cannot be only one person; we want to see all those who are bringing drugs in this country being dealt with. Mr. Speaker Sir, these drugs come through our borders. We have seen that there are so many activities taking place there but as we always say, even in our APNAC meetings, we can blame people but are we doing enough as a country to give confidence to those that have arresting powers? For example, we can say if you arrest a drug peddler, we will give you so much or if you have a clean record as a police officer at the border post we give you this. I am saying this because you cannot expect a police officer who is earning US$200 to arrest someone who is bringing in drugs worth more than US$10 million. The person who is bringing drugs can just give the police officer US$1 000 and that will be the end. We have to sit down and see how we can deal with those that bring drugs to our country. As parents, we can do whatever we can but the issue is; who is bringing in drugs?
Mr. Speaker, if you go to resident groups, I am in several resident groups in Gwanda where I stay where people would say those who deal with drugs should be arrested. You hear comments from people saying that if we inform police officers, they will tell the drug peddler that Maphosa is the one who reported you to the police. They tip that person to hide the drugs. We are in trouble and as a country, I am urging authorities even from the President himself, to declare that if you are caught peddling drugs or being a drug trafficker – we have seen this with gold, there is a law that if you are found with gold, there is a stiffer sentence and if you are a cattle rustler you are given a stiffer sentence and the same applies to rape. There should be a minimum sentence for drug peddling and trafficking. For example, if someone is caught at the border bringing drugs, they should be given a minimum sentence of 15 years.
Mr. Speaker Sir, my debate is; let us come up with a law that will look into drug trafficking and drug peddling before we can talk about those that are selling drugs because those are small issues. I thank you – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] –
(v)*HON. MUDARIKWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me the opportunity to debate the motion raised by Hon. Nyabani, seconded by Hon. Nduna. I would want to classify these drugs in three different classifications. There is what they call crystal meth or mutoriro which is sometimes mixed with rat poison so that it becomes effective by removing sugar substance in the body and you collapse easily. There is Broncleer which is manufactured in South Africa. The manufacturing plant of Broncleer used to be in Natal but they moved it closer to the Botswana border. The local people produce cannabis which is also known as mbanje and also there is an element of recreational traditional beer which is sometimes brewed in the communal lands.
Why I have categorised these drugs is to mark in red that crystal meth, mutoriro and rat poison, these are pure drugs. Broncleer which is produced in South Africa is also a killer drug. These drugs have destroyed our youth. It is important that the different ministries such as Ministry of Public Service, Ministry of Youth and Ministry of Women’s Affairs must put an effort now to create an environment which makes living in communal lands acceptable because most of these people are coming from communal lands into urban areas. They are made drug peddlers and their lives are ruined.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I once mentioned that the educational pass rate in Mashonaland East Province is about 7% and what it means is that 93% of all these people have no skill to do. If they are trained or given something to do, they will not partake drugs. They say an idle mind is always the devil’s workshop. Our youth will remain seated with nothing to do. We must also design a system to remove poverty in communal lands because poverty has put its roots in communal lands. So, it is important that agricultural finance systems must securitise our cattle and goats that are available so that we insure them, thereby producing Z$10 billion to finance commercial activities in the communal lands. Our communal lands are just a sea of poverty and where there is poverty, drug and substance abuse exist.
Last week, I had to go to church just to relax and refresh my mind. The preacher there was saying when you die, you go to heaven and so you must live a good life on earth. Thereafter, I said this church is talking about death and let me go to another one. The same story was being preached that when you die, you must go to heaven. Insurance companies are also saying when you die, you must leave some money for your children. There is no concept of what am I doing today to live a comfortable life. The youth have surrendered their lives already to death. We must move away from this theorem of death. That is why there are now more people with insurance policies than medical aid policies because we have been overwhelmed by death. This is the other principle that make our youth quickly move into the use of drugs.
My strong recommendation is that the committee appointed by His Excellency, Cde E. D. Mnangagwa must come in and present their report to Parliament and Parliament must make an urgent representation and see which areas we can touch on. We have lost a generation of young people that have been taken by mutoriro and they will never come back. Anyone who takes most of these drugs whether male or female, there is nothing that functions because once you consume these drugs, you are fast asleep for three or four days. We cannot send children to school and universities to graduate into drug abuse. It is necessary that an immediate action is taken.
I also want to thank His Excellency for setting up this committee to deal with substance and drug abuse. Besides that, we also want to identify how do we produce recreational traditional drinks at affordable prices. I remember when we were growing up in communal areas, there used to be “seven-days” beer. A cup would not cost much. Four people would sit around and drink and after sometime, they go home and relax – tomorrow they are able to wake up. Nowadays people are not able to wake up once they consume alcohol.
I have been to America, Denmark and Sweden, they have allowed the use of cannabis for recreational purposes in minimum quantities. This has also reduced the amount of youth who go to hard drugs like crystal meth and Broncleer which really destroys them. It is important that this motion is adopted and Parliament must see to it that money is made available to combat substance and drug abuse. I want to thank you very much for allowing me to contribute on this critical motion.
(v)*HON. MUSARURWA: Thank you very much Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank Hon Nyabani and Hon Nduna who seconded the motion. I want to raise the issue that is happening to our young people. The previous speakers spoke about the importance of fighting drug and alcohol abuse. For example, in Mbare and other high-density suburbs, you find people participating in such activities are being given lenient sentences. Some drug peddlers are arrested and set free without any prosecution. This is discouraging and it is affecting a lot of people. My request is that through this august House, there is need for the promulgation of laws which are deterrent so that when one is arrested, they should be incarcerated for long periods. People like Job Sikhala who are political prisoners are being incarcerated for long periods whilst drug lords who are destroying this country are roaming free in our streets.
It is my plea that we should have stiffer penalties so that it sends a clear message to would-be offenders. I thank you.
HON. MPARIWA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for giving me the opportunity to debate on the motion raised by Hon. Nyabani, seconded by Hon. Nduna. I feel encouraged to debate this motion because some of us in this august House have had a personal experience after taking our dependents and relatives for rehabilitation as a result of drug abuse.
Hon. Speaker, every day we receive reports of young children who are found in different states of intoxication, some will be reported dead or having committed suicide. Hon. Musarurwa raised this issue regarding drug peddling in residential areas. Drug peddlers are known in different areas but the challenge is that even when they are arrested, they will be eventually released, which results in people fearing to report drug lords.
Illicit brews and substances like Bronco are now prevalent in the City of Harare, for example when you go to corner Fourth Street, you would find that there are a lot of empty Bronco bottles. I heard the previous Hon. Member mentioning that young boys are abusing drugs but I want to say even young girls are also abusing drugs throughout the country because they do not have anything to do. For instance, at a day school, you find children going out of school to look for alcohol and drugs. Young girls are being taken advantage of by both boys and men old enough to be their fathers.
The other point Hon. Speaker is that we are giving too much freedom to our children who have access to everything they want. They can go out without any restrictions but as parents, we need to monitor their movements, their associates and the time they go and come back home. When I was growing up, our parents were very strict on us, they would not allow us to come back home after 1730hours. No child was allowed to come back home after dinner. I believe that if we set up household rules as parents, this will restrict our children and it will allow us to be able to monitor their behavior.
Furthermore, I believe that children are losing their childhood as a result of drug related behaviours and from what Hon. Nyabani said, this can be explained as the loss of a generation because these are our future leaders.
Hon. Nyabani also mentioned the fact that there are no jobs and our young people are idle, which gives them a lot of time to indulge in drugs and other activities using the pocket money that we give them. As parents, it is important that we understand the kind of drugs our children are taking, we also need to understand what it means to be intoxicated by dangerous drugs which puts them in a state of perpetual state of intoxication over a number of days without using their mental faculties. Some do not even sleep at night; they will be walking without tiring, eating continuously or not eating at all.
Another issue of concern is that we have received a lot of reports of drug abuse related violence perpetrated by children on their parents and guardians. This is sad because these are our future leaders and it compromises their future because there is nothing that can be done for them, they are no longer progressive in life because of drug abuse.
Mr. Speaker Sir, Zimbabwe has a number of remedies that can be applied to our young people who might have mental illnesses as a result of drugs, some can go to the Parirenyatwa, Annex and different mental institutions around the country. We have taken a number of relatives to these hospitals but the challenge is that they do not have enough medicines to cater for these patients.
Mr. Speaker Sir, I have identified different Ministries which are stakeholders in the fight against drug abuse. The first one being the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development which is responsible for funding the Ministry of Health in order for our hospitals to have enough money to stock medications because if a young person is admitted at an institution for rehabilitation, they need at least two to three weeks to have their mental faculties restored if taking proper and adequate medication.
After this period of admission, most people start behaving normally and some will start crying and indicating they are ready to go back home. However, when they get home, there is need for them to continue with their medications; failure of which, they regress into addiction.
So, my request is that the relevant ministries like the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Ministry of Youth, Sport, Arts and Culture and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs should coordinate recreational activities which will keep young people busy so that they do not focus on drugs. For example, different sporting activities, income generating projects and behaviour change programmes.
We have also noticed that both day and boarding scholars are being affected by drugs, there is now no safe haven for our children. I therefore, implore parents to be very observant to what their children are doing. The Ministry of Public Service has a number of institutions for rehabilitating young children but these institutions do not have enough facilities for accommodating and providing services to these children.
I have once taken some children from the streets to such homes and the unfortunate part is that most of them leave home and go back to the streets because they do not find a hospitable environment to cater for their needs. We want such institutions to have adequate facilities to provide education and recreational facilities for our children.
Hon. Speaker, the Ministry of Agriculture should also consider empowering young people with land so that they can be productive, rehabilitation should not be restricted to an institution only but it should culminate in young people partaking income generating projects. The Ministry of Industry and Commerce should also consider young people in the manufacturing of drugs and it is important that such drugs are monitored to prevent the abuse of prescriptive drugs. Our industry should empower young people so that they participate in income generating projects which will create employment.
The last Ministry that I want to talk about is the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development which is mandated with financing other line ministries because if hospitals do not have enough medication, we can debate as much as we like but will not be doing any good. I therefore thank you Hon. Speaker, for affording me this opportunity to debate on this motion. I urge this august House to adopt the motion as a matter of urgency because this is an issue of national importance. I thank you.
HON. TOGAREPI: Mr. Speaker, I am also very touched by the motion that was moved by Hon. Nyabani, seconded by Hon. Nduna, that touches on the challenges that we are currently facing because of drug abuse. True Mr. Speaker, we have lost a generation; we have lost many of our brilliant brains due to drug abuse. Many of our young men and women are indulging in drugs and you can tell from the onset that there is no future for that boy or girl.
I think we need to take a very serious approach to this menace. In my view, the first thing and the President of this country, His Excellency President E. D. Mnangagwa even said that we should come up with efforts to try and curb drug abuse. I am saying as Parliament, let us come up with laws that can assist law enforcement agents to deal with this challenge. It is big and for me, it is not just like people find themselves taking drugs. I think there is some force from somewhere, there is some invasion of our country from somewhere.
I would like to take you to around 2000 when we embarked on the Land Reform Programme and there was a misunderstanding between us and the West. Suddenly, we saw what was called ‘six pack’ - that is, six 300 or 400ml of beer, a ‘six pack’ that cost a dollar. It was very cheap, and everyone could afford a dollar; so that in essence was encouraging people to drink beer. Now, I think that failed to trigger the desired effect.
Let us look in the East and other countries like the Soviet Union, how it was destroyed. Think about what Vodka did in those countries. Now, beer was supposed to trigger mayhem in this country, and it failed. Then they realised okay, beer is no longer going to do what we wanted; we wanted to see demonstrations with people rising against their Government and all that has failed too. They have now come up with this mutoriro. We have a generation of senior citizens who are aware of where we come from and where we are going. They are all old and eventually they are going to die but they will die after leaving their legacies with a generation. These people will continue to resist any machinations against Zimbabwe.
So the best thing for these purveyors is to give mutoriro to this generation and all of them are going to die. If you observe carefully, our life expectancy had gown beyond 60 but now it has gone down to 35 to 38 years. Go to either Mbudzi, Warren Hills cemeteries or go anywhere, you will see that it is young people who are dying. Mutoriro - all these hard drugs are killing people and those who are worst affected are the young generation. This means that we are going to have that generation cleaned and we are also going to die due to age, natural death will come and we will go. We will leave a generation born out of mutoriro parents and you will see what it is going to do to Zimbabwe. We are going to lose our dignity and pride as a country.
Mr. Speaker, I think we need to really tackle this problem head on and ensure that those who are involved in drugs; selling drugs and our major threats go to jail, and not only go to jail but they must rot in jail. They are very lucky that we have a President who feels that the death sentence should never be practiced in our country. I think this is the only crime we should think about shooting those who peddle drugs – they must die. They are killing a generation.
We now have people in the streets there, and people say, vakastika. He will be standing there for 12 hours like a statue, and you think that is going to be a future President, a Member of Parliament, a teacher or doctor one day? Even the schools Mr. Speaker are also contributing to drug abuse. You see a child who is in ‘A level’; we went to ‘A level’ and were doing three subjects but because of some inexplicable excitement, students are being asked to do 10 subjects and the child does not even sleep, reading and trying to attain 10’As’. What do these children do? They will end up taking drugs so that they do not sleep.
Drugs by their nature cause addiction. He or she finishes and passes but he or she is already on drugs and cannot stop. When you look at the students who are taking drugs, they are zombies. You cannot even talk to them. They are prone to getting themselves into many of these crimes like murder and cannot even socialise. How are we going to build a future with such type of people who have been destroyed by drugs?
I was in my constituency and we were running a soccer programme where we were trying to fight drug abuse. Some young boys and girls then brought a paper bag full of mutoriro. I was shocked to see that even the label had a Gutu address because we think drugs come from Harare, they come from outside the country. We have people in this country who are now very rich out of killing our people. I think an operation by the police, by all security agents, must take place and must take place like yesterday to follow up on everybody, every soul.
If you go to areas where drugs are prevalent, they will tell you where they get them and have all those people arrested. I gave a lift to three women at Serima in Gutu. I saw them, it was raining and I said I cannot leave these ladies here. So, along the way they started telling me what type of job they were in. They were selling drugs in Chivhu and who their customers were. Some of them are there in the security services. some are high officials, maybe MPs here. Some we see them talking too much, it could be drugs and what are we doing to our country?
I am telling you, if we have an operation Mr. Speaker, just for two or three months, we will reduce the prevalence of drugs. Drugs are a precursor of a difficult situation to our country. Let us look at countries like Panama where we have drug lords who influence the politics of the country. They will sponsor wars and drug lords in this country as they develop addiction. We will see cartels of these drugs and one day we will have a country where you cannot be free and you cannot have a president or leadership of a country that will make decisions without begging or kneeling before drug lords. Why do we not nip this in the bud? What are we doing? As Parliament, Mr. Speaker, let us come up with a programme where all Parliamentarians may hold a demonstration against drugs.
Drugs are no longer here in Harare. You will find a herd man who is herding cattle being drunk. I was shocked the other day when my neighbour lost his cattle. He could not find them and the herd boy was nowhere to be seen. He looked for the cattle and he got them but the herd boy was not there. Then deep in the night someone who was just walking around found the herd man sleeping along the path. He was dead drunk. He had a small bottle of mutoriro lying next to him.
Look at the things they take. I hear it comes from globes, some comes from pampers, you know these unknown dangerous substances. What are they doing to their bodies? Maybe changing their genetic make-ups. We will end up having people looking like baboons. We do not know what they are eating and what it is doing to their bodies. Why are we not taking action as a country Mr. Speaker? This is a motion that we should take seriously. Every Hon. Member should go to his constituency and ensure that programmes are held to try and conscientize the constituents.
One area is lack of information Mr. Speaker Sir. I think the Government must take it seriously so that we look for those who have not yet been affected because it is just one day when they taste and enjoy the hallucinations and they are gone. Why do we not take young people to rehabilitation centres where they are going to see those who are mad or who are now unwell because of the drugs so that they can be scared, they can see that this is not good for them.
We are losing a generation. I do not know what is going to happen ten years from now because the number of our children who are taking drugs is bad. It also goes to the women. I am sorry if I am going to offend you; when you bleach your skins, how many cancers are you looking for? We do not know what it is going to do to you. These are some of the drugs we think we are talking of, not only of somebody who is going to be intoxicated, no. Using substances that will change how you behave, how you look, you are creating a problem and you are inviting a lot of people who might then end up being affected by those abuses. Some take those drugs to look very big – Hon. Nduna, then looks very big because of those drugs – [HON. NDUNA: Humongous.] – What are we doing to our country? We are people, God has created us in a certain form. Why do you want to change yourself using drugs that you do not know 10 years from now what they will do to your body and the children we are going to bear from mothers who are taking those drugs? What are they going to be like, what is going to happen to the make-up of their bodies?
I do not think we are doing any good to ourselves. Mr. Speaker, I really feel that as a people, if we want to save Zimbabwe, the only thing that we own and it is ours, is our people and we cannot have our people destroyed. However, bringing drugs here, whoever is corrupt allowing drugs to go across our borders must go to jail. There should never be any story. In fact, if we can take these people and keep them in Gonarezhou so that if they want to run away, they will be eaten by lions if we do not want to kill people because we do not have people now. If you go to schools, teachers have problems in actually giving direction to our children because they are all drunk. Maybe the teacher is also drunk.
So, we have a challenge Mr. Speaker, we have a challenge Members of Parliament. As Members of Parliament, we are representatives of the people. We have seen a danger in our society, let us take a step forward. Parliament must lead. We represent people, we have got people in our areas who are getting drunk, who are being affected by these drugs. Let us do something about it and immediately do so. I recommend Mr. Speaker, to you as head of this institution, to mobilise Members of Parliament to join the President’s efforts to fight drugs, to do something immediately and fight drugs. Drugs are killing our people. Drugs are destroying even productivity.
Some of the people here, you will find the work you want done here at Parliament is not completed on time - the person is drunk. Accidents that we see on our roads are caused by people who are drunk. So, every part of our society is now affected by drugs and why can we not do something because this is even worse than COVID-19? It is worse than even any other disease, even AIDS. Our people are dying. Mr. Speaker, you can go to Mbudzi today and see what is written on the tombstones in terms of age. How many people have died? They say they take drugs like cocaine. It eats you inside the brain there and if you do like what you do to a water melon and you apply pressure with your figure the skull may break. They no longer have skulls because they have all been destroyed by these drugs.
So, I think we need to do something and I pray that Parliament contributes to this and helps conscientise our people to move away from drugs because drugs are killing and destroying our generation. In future we are going to have children born out of people who are drunk. Imagine they will also be drunk and we will end up having no population with people dying and we will lose as a country. We need to be proud.
Mr. Speaker, we grew up under very strict parents and we were taught that we were not supposed to drink beer. If I start drinking at this old age Mr. Speaker Sir, I will take beer with discipline but this one started drinking at the age of 14. How do you expect these people to control themselves when their blood is 40% alcohol? I thank you Mr. Speaker.
THE TEMPORY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Thank you very much Hon. Togarepi. That is an explosion full of sense.
(v) HON. WATSON: Thank you Hon. Speaker. I would also like to add my voice to this very important motion on drugs, alcohol and substance abuse. I think that although we are seeing the problem now, it has been mushrooming in Zimbabwe for some time. Broncleer is the main substance being abused and it has been coming from South Africa for a very long time. This affects the liver, kidneys and internal organs as a whole. This is something which our ZRP and drug controlling authorities absolutely need to be on top of. There are three programmes conscientising young people to say no to drugs and drug abuse. One of them was done by Hon. Mliswa and as MPs, we are talking to the young people but their answer to us is why are the authorities not stopping the drug peddlers. We have to stop the drug suppliers and in order to do that, we need implementation through statutory instruments, committees and talking then we need to implement resolutions. Citizens feel nothing much has been done to stop the people who import the substances. Some of the cough mixture can only be bought with a prescription. So, how are the young people getting these cough mixtures which require a prescription? If we do not deal with the corruption that seems to be pervasive both in our ZRP force and in Zimbabwe as a whole, will we ever get on top of these issues? We need to stop drug abuse by this generation. That is my plea to Parliament and the authorities Hon. Speaker.
+HON. L. SIBANDA: I want to add my voice to the motion moved by Hon. Nyabani which is so infuriating because our children are suffering. I want to say that the drugs that are being taken by our children are injected into their veins. Some are taken through smoking and they quickly get into their bodies resulting in serious damage to their bodies, suffering from mental illness and at times tragic deaths.
I also want to add onto what other Hon. Members have alluded to, that the drug lords should be imprisoned. I once saw a video of the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe saying that there was a child who was arrested for drug abuse. He said that when that child gained consciousness, the police officers took the child to the drug lord who had sold the drugs to him. I am happy because the President is also realising that children are facing difficulties because of grown-ups who lure them to buy drugs and they become addicted. These drug peddlers should be arrested and sent for life in prison because they are destroying the lives of future presidents and future Members of Parliament. Still on the same issue Hon. Speaker, even if these kids think of stopping taking these drugs, it is difficult because they are addicted. I am lobbying, just like what the President is doing for the arrest of whoever is selling these drugs no matter it is Hon. Mliswa, he should face the wrath of the law without discrimination. With these few words, I thank you Hon. Speaker.
(v) +HON. S. NDLOVU: Thank you Hon. Speaker. Can I be protected from Hon. Members who are making noise.
THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER (HON. MUTOMBA): Not from this side, we cannot hear anything.
(v) +HON. S. NDLOVU: Mr. Speaker Sir, the issue of drugs is serious even in primary schools. Kids are taking these drugs as young as primary school going age. Let us go with them as the leadership to hospitals like Ingutsheni to just go and see how young people have gone mad because of drugs, maybe it will scare them enough to stop taking drugs.
Ingutsheni has capacity which can be used for inmates who suffer from mental illness. What is painful is that when you go to the hospital, these children will be walking naked and even the doctors cannot help the state these kids will be in. My plea is that the Ministry of Health and Child Care should capacitate hospitals like Ingutsheni and other related hospitals.
When we ask these children why they are using drugs, they will tell you that they do not have jobs, so the issue of youngsters not working is one factor which is contributing to drug abuse. We have our factories which Government can open so that these kids can get employment. If one or two factories are opened in different cities, these kids can find jobs and leave the streets. They are no longer afraid of killing. They are not even afraid of committing any crime because of these drugs. Mr. Speaker Sir, what has been said by a number of Hon. Members clearly indicates that we have lost a generation who may not have the capacity to take over as community leaders in the coming years. It is because of these drugs that today we have high cases of early marriages and this is because both boys and girls have nothing to do. They spend much of their time taking drugs. Let us take them away from the streets and put them in the clubs that we have in our areas through the Ministry of Youth.
We can also resuscitate some of the trainings so that our children can find something to do instead of taking drugs. There is no place where these drugs are not being used. There should be a law that prohibits the existence of drug peddlers. [Part of speech not recorded due to technical glitch.]. I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
*HON. MATSUNGA: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir, for according me this opportunity. I want to thank Hon. Nyabani and Hon. Nduna for the motion that they have moved. In short, it is very painful. If you look at the young ones, they are now looking like old people. If you look at other youths, they are gone health wise because of drugs. I want to thank you for this motion. I think in the end, we will have a resolution. It should not just end here. I am really pained Mr. Speaker when we look at education. Is it not possible for the Ministry of Education to look at those on BEAM because they are chased away from school because of late payment of fees? They end up engaging into drugs. This is troubling our young people.
The staff from the Ministry of Education should investigate whether fees for these children on BEAM are paid. Most of these children are the ones engaging in drugs. I do not know how the Ministry of Home Affairs works because members of the police are receiving bribes. If you call them that there is a base, they do not come. Mr. Speaker Sir, I do not know how we can assist each other because as a representative of Mufakose which is a high-density suburb, it is populated by many drug addicts. When you call the Marimba Police Station, they will tell you that they do not have fuel. Girls are having unwanted pregnancies because they are getting pregnant while under drug influence.
The Crystal Meth that they use, I heard someone saying it is a drug which was used during the war by soldiers so that they would be alive when they go to war. You then ask yourself what kind of life are we living at a home where there are parents, elders but there are bases for drugs? If you call the police, they do not come. These children get these drugs in exchange of sugar, pots and cell phones for their parents. I think the Minister of Home Affairs should come out clear.
Someone said people who sell drugs are like witches because they do not have anything for the future generation. These drug peddlers should be prosecuted, not be given bail and should rot in jail. When they are taken by police, they are released. It is like a rapist. If he is convicted and given bail, those who are outside and wanted to commit the same offence, if they see that person out, they will be happy and know that they will just be released.
All those who are prosecuted because of drug peddling should not be given bail so that we crack on the peddlers. At the end, we should find out the cause of all this and nip it. Mr. Speaker, if you are to go to Mbare, there are houses which are brewing drugs. If you talk about it nothing is done. I went to Mbare for a funeral. I was really touched by what I saw there when I asked to use the next door’s toilet. I saw shocking things, drugs are being brewed in drums and if a small 2-litre lid is taken by someone, they will become mad. When you alert the police, they come and get bribes but they are destroying the lives of our young people.
This is because after completing education, our children do not have jobs, they are just idle. Long back, if a child becomes an engineer, the Government will assist them in whatever carrier they want. My plea is that the two Ministries that have to do with youth and home affairs should work hand in hand. There is need for many recreational centres. I think it is a good idea that the amount allocated to Members of Parliament through the CDF should be enough to cater for projects so that our youths are occupied all the time through projects and recreation.
Rehabilitation in Zimbabwe is very expensive and parents cannot afford it – it costs US$20 per day. My plea is that Ministry of Finance allocate enough resources to Members of Parliament to enable them to establish rehabilitation centres since Harare Hospital is no longer accepting affected youths saying that they are not mentally disturbed – they are only affected by drugs. When they are interviewed at the hospital, they appear very normal. They then go back home and abuse their parents. A lot of children in Mufakose have attempted to rape their parents because of these drugs. Some have escaped stabbings because of these children. May God intervene.
I would like to thank Hon. Nyabani for bringing in this motion which is touching youths on drug abuse. There are a lot of unwanted pregnancies, incest and a lot of sexually transmitted diseases as these youths engage in unprotected sex when they are drunk. There are some parents who are now chucking their children from homes and saying they should go and stay at bases because of the abuse they are experiencing. That is not a solution. Any parent who engages in this act should be arrested because this shows a lot of neglect on the part of the parent. Parents should sit down and interact with their children. Let us have time to check on our children when they are back from school. Their bags should be searched to check for any queer substances. About a month ago, a primary school child died because of inhaling gas – nobody was attending to him. The maid was always busy on WhatsApp.
This new 2000 generation experiments a lot with these powders and pampers too. We need God’s grace. This should not just end in debating. We need to implement all the positive points here so that they people out there know that MPs speak with one voice. I thank you.
(v)HON. T. MOYO: Thank you Mr. Speaker for finally recognizing my voice. I would like to add my voice to the motion raised by Hon. Nyabani and seconded by Hon. Nduna.
Drug and substance abuse is an international problem. It is a global problem and Zimbabwe is not spared. I wish to contribute to this discourse and make my debate under four headings; the undermining causes of drug abuse; manifestations and forms of drug abuse; impacts and finally I will proffer solutions to this important motion.
Drug abuse is a national problem which increased dramatically especially during COVID-19 pandemic. Adolescents and youths who practice drug abuse may have been affected in various ways. Prolonged lock down of schools during this period contributed immensely to increase drug abuse. Schools were closed and online lessons were hardly done. The youths are the future of Zimbabwe. Action must be taken now and not tomorrow.
Types of drugs include glue, broncleer, codeine, chem spirit, marijuana, crystal meth among others. The undermining cause of drug abuse is the issue of the porous borders. We have seen drugs such as broncleer, codeine and others finding their way illegally into Zimbabwe in huge volumes and that affects the youths. There is a massive local production in Zimbabwe and that is rampant with drugs such as musombodia – a colorless highly intoxicating drink made with ethanol endalment powder being illegally manufactured and distributed in the streets of Zimbabwe.
Some of the impacts of drug abuse are as follows; drugs affect the central nervous system and can leave users in a bad condition. The majority of youths who engage in drug abuse have been affected in a big way – their being unemployed also affects and leads to public health disaster. Some of the substances cause risk behaviors, cardio-vascular, neurological diseases, predisposed and short-term psychiatric complications including addiction, stress, depression, anxiety, suicidal tendencies and even psychosis. School going children who use these illicit substances and drug abuse are also affected and they drop out of school.
Some of the recommendations are as follows, as Parliamentarians, we need a multi-stakeholder approach Mr. Speaker Sir. Let us bring everyone on board, civil society, development partners, Parliament and Central Government. This brings a lot of community awareness which is very paramount in trying to curb the impact of drug abuse. We also need to have learning changes and we need a legal framework that will curtail and criminalise the sale of drugs and have deterrent penalties for a term of 20 years in jail being given to people who sell these dangerous drugs. That is my submission Mr. Speaker Sir. Thank you.
v*HON. PERSEVERANCE ZHOU: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir for affording me this opportunity to add my voice to this motion. Let me thank Hon. Nyabani and I also want to thank Hon. Nduna and other Hon. Members who debated on this motion. A lot has been said and I will not repeat what has been said. Let me say that what I see is that we have very few places where there are no drug abusers or children who are engaging in drugs. Some of the drugs come in the form of injections. A lot of people are not open because of stigmatization.
I want to encourage people that if we see that anyone in our purview is dealing in drugs, they should be open quickly so that they seek help. We also have a lot of diseases like HIV and we had COVID after that and these diseases would wipe away people. If you look closely, you find that drug abuse is more dangerous because it wipes away a whole generation because most of these children are damaged. I am saying that when HIV befall on us, a lot of awareness took place on our TVs, radios and in the media.
A lot of people came up in the open how they coped with HIV. I think people should come up in the open so that we learn from others. After all, there is hope even in our communities. If people come up in the open and show that there is hope at the end of the tunne. I think our media and the journalists should work together so that people come up in the open and help our children.
Talking about rehabilitation centres – the centres we have today are psychiatric units and for people to send their children there where people who are mentally challenged, it becomes a challenge. I think the Government should come up with separate rehabilitation centres which deals with drugs only. The challenges that are being faced by these children do not affect the parents only but affects the Government as well. Our education system should include topics on drug abuse. The syllabus should be designed for their urgency which should be inclusive of dramas. Artists should also be romped in so that the bad thing about drugs should be brought out. When it comes to HIV, there were a lot of literature which was being published and there were posters everywhere.
I also have another issue that all the ministries should come together and address the issues of drugs. Funding should be availed because if there is no money, nothing will come out. I think everyone should put their hands on the plough and we address these issues. I want to thank the President, but we also need the help of NGOs to chip in and also ask the public to become policemen. Even in schools, there should be whistle blowers who watch these children so that they will not engage in drugs because drugs are destroying our nation and they are destroying our children.
With these few words, I just want to encourage all the parliamentarians that we should put laws that protect our children and that they should get help and those who are peddling should be prosecuted and given strict penalties. Thank you.
*(v)HON. MUTAMBISI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I want to thank you for according me this opportunity to add my voice on this motion. A lot has been said and I just want to add a few words. I want to thank the mover and seconder of this motion. I just want to say that our children are now behaving like animals and parents are not doing anything because they cannot handle the situation. The issue of the police - because the police are aware, where the drugs are being sold. Maybe they are failing to cope with the pressure. I think there should be a special branch that deals with issues of drug abuse. The First Lady has tried to come up with sporting programmes so that our children would engage and forget about drugs. We have addressed the issue of police that they should go and prosecute these people who are dealing in drugs.
Last week, the President said that we should have police on patrol so that if they catch anyone under the influence of crystal mirth they should be detained until they are sober and then they will be forced to disclose their suppliers. This will make other children afraid to take drugs. So, I think the police should continue catching all these children who are under the influence of drugs. I think the Government should chip in and take all those places which are closed and use them as rehabilitation centres so that it would not be expensive for the parents. Also, as parents we must know what our children are doing at any given time and what they are eating. If we do that it will help us.
I remember last week; a parent was chased away from their house by her child. As legislators I think we should know what kind of people our children are befriending. I think it would help us to curb the issue of drug abuse. I thank you.
(v)*HON. JANUARY: Thank you very much Hon. Speaker for giving me this opportunity. I would like to support the motion which was brought in this House by Hon. Nyabani and supported by Hon. Nduna, with regard to the issue of drug abuse in the country. The issue of drug abuse in the country is something that has become a scourge. When we look at it we discover that these drugs are being smuggled through the borders but again you will see that we have got soldiers and police force along these borders, where will they be when drugs are being smuggled into the country?
It is because their remuneration has become meaningless, hence these drugs are being allowed to come through the borders. There is nothing to gain for them if they arrest these people but instead, they will rather gain a few dollars from working in cahoots with these people. The best thing is to uproot a tree, when we go about pruning trees they will germinate new branches. Let us look for the real cause of this scourge and deal with it.
Children are now murderers because of these drugs, they have no respect for elders. To them everyone is just nothing. Both girls and boys have gone wayward. After school, children have nothing to do instead they are spending much of their time galivanting. May the Government create employment in different provinces around the country so that they have something to occupy them. Let us have vocational training centres in different provinces, so that we do not have these youth just being glued on one place. When we grew up, there used to be clubs for boys and girls and we knew these were very helpful. Thank you very much for the time and opportunity.
*HON. V. NDEBELE: Thank you Hon. Speaker for giving me this opportunity to add my voice on this pertinent matter that relates to the abuse of drugs, especially by our youths. I also have a youngster who is into drugs. As I am speaking right now, I do not even know where he is and what he is thinking about. At times he turns violent and locks the other children inside the house and instructs them that no one is supposed to get out of the house. This issue of drugs is very painful to all the parents with children who abuse drugs. This previous week, I was called by my neighbour informing me that my child was chasing his child carrying a knife with the intention of stabbing him. Drugs have destroyed the nation. Parents are no longer at peace in their homes because children have turned to be monsters due to drug abuse. However, we do report these cases to the police and we even show them the houses of these drug peddlers and drug dealers but it is useless because they are only arrested for about two minutes and released. This is a sign that our laws in relation to drugs are very weak. We want the Government to intervene and create strong policies that deter communities from dealing in drugs and any individual who is found on the wrong side of the law should be severely punished so that we create a drug free environment.
(v)HON. I. NYONI: I want to add my voice on the important motion brought in by Hon. Nyabani, seconded by Hon. Nduna. Let me not repeat what other Hon. Members have highlighted. I note that Zimbabwe has become a centre of hard drugs like Cocaine, Heroin and others. It is high time that the ports of entry through ZIMRA and other law enforcement agencies are tightened so that we do not have these leakages, so that these drugs cannot be imported into the country. The youths are the leaders of tomorrow. If we allow this situation to continue as it is, what type of leadership are we producing for tomorrow? I see their families disintegrating because of these young people who are always high on drugs. I do not see them making proper families in future. In brief, I thank you Mr. Speaker Sir.
*HON. NYABANI: Thank you Mr. Speaker Sir. I would like to thank Members of Parliament who debated on this motion. The issue of drug abuse is affecting everyone in the country. It is my wish that different Ministries join us in this battle against drug abuse. The youth have gone to waste because of drug abuse. Who then are we going to remain with if they are gone? Let us have a law to get rid of this drug abuse scourge. Mr. Speaker, I move that the motion be adopted.
Motion put and adopted.
On the motion of HON. TOGAREPI, seconded by HON. MPARIWA, the House adjourned at One Minute past Five o’clock p.m.